Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

The Mandalorian, created by Jon Favreau, based on the world created by George Lucas: a Television Review

Note: I am currently still watching this show. Season 2 review will come soon.

Synopsis:

Five years have passed since the Empire has fallen.  The republic is broken in more ways than it was before, and the Rebellion hasn’t had the chance to completely pick up the pieces and reinstate the governing bodies of the original Republic.

In the Outer Rim, a bounty hunter seeks out a new bounty.  The Mandalorian finds himself face to face with something that so many have sought before…yet none have been able to capture.  A 50-year-old being…with untold powers.

General Information:

-Genre: Space Western

-Creator: Jon Favreau, based on the universe created by George Lucas

-Length: 2 seasons, 16 total episodes (32-55 minutes per episode)

-Rating: TV-14 (moderate violence and gore, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription)

-Main Cast: Pedro Pascal, The Child

-Page of Reference in RP1: 22

Review (contains spoilers):

Season 1:

Chapter 1: The Mandalorian

11 minutes in and there is so much that we have learned about the lore and the universe after the fall of the empire.  From the currency of the Empire no longer being acceptable currency to the way that bounty hunters find their next bounty.  That there is a Guild for bounty hunters which I find interesting…like it is an acceptable profession in the new world. It also seems like the Empire may not be as dead as we once thought.

The Fringe is alive and well as we see with The Mandalorian entering their territory.  Beskar has been offered to The Mandalorian as payment for his latest bounty.  So much information is being presented but not in the condescending and forced way that we saw with Episodes 1-3.  The Beskar is obviously highly valuable.  The children in the hands of the bounty hunters are often foundlings. 

And The Mandalorian has a reputation as the best and most expensive bounty hunter.

Its really interesting how they have done the character development visually.  Our bounty hunter only has a Beskar helmet to start with and the rest of his armor is haphazardly put together (probably cobbled from pieces he has found or won).  His entire outfit, including the new piece of Beskar armor, tells a story.

The bounty is so stinking CUTE.

Chapter 2: The Child

I just can’t with how cute they made The Child.  I am so glad that Favreau insisted that it be done as a Muppet type of creature just like the original Yoda.  There are just so many cases where the practical effects hold up so much better in the long run than any sort of CGI effects.  However, the Unreal Engine technology that is coming into play and is used throughout the filming of this series.

“Weapons are part of my religion.” That is a fascinating statement.  I am really interested in how that is going out play out in the long run.

Oh…that feels like a side quest.  Yep…. this is defiantly a side quest.  Did we step into a RPG? Its basically just a fetch quest episode.  His ship gets stripped, so he needs to get the parts.  To get the parts he needs to trade.  To trade he needs to get an egg to trade…and of course there is a boss battle to get it.  It is really cool that they have pulled from creatures that we already have seen in the greater universe.  This creature looks like one that we saw in Episode 2 that gets thrown into the ring to attack Anakin, Padme and Obi-wan.

But I will say he’s being such a good dad to The Child in this episode.

I am really enjoying how they are introducing and expanding the world that is just known in the Skywalker Saga.  For fans like myself who have only ever watched the movies and maybe played a video game or two it is so wonderful to get to see the extended universe and not feel like we are being talked down to for not knowing something.  From the Jawas valuing something more than trade to the details of the Ugnaught’s skills.  We are continuing to learn more and more about the world in a way that feels conducive to the story and not contrived.

But honestly…did we end up in an RPG?

Chaper 3: The Sin

Once again so much new information.  Only one Mandalorian allowed out at a time? That is a LOT of Beskar that Mando ended up with…and its crazy that there is so much left over after making his armor….

And I knew I didn’t feel good about the guy who wanted The Child found.  I’m so glad that Mando went back for him. His weapons are awesome.

I really am interested into the whole dynamic of the Guild (who do they really serve? Themselves or the fallen Empire?) and the Mandalorians.  I find it incredible that they would step out of hiding to help one of their own commits a crime.  No matter that it was a rescue of a foundling. 

He’s going to be a great dad to the little guy.  I’m so interested to see how the relationship between the two of them builds.

Its also really fascinating to see that after only about 30 years somehow the Force is just a myth…and no longer something that is so well known that people knew who the Jedi were instantly.  It truly shows just how short term our shared history and memories are.  Or how people just don’t want to get involved with what isn’t their business.

Chapter 4: Sanctuary

I love getting to see new planets.  There is just so much of the galaxy in Star Wars that we don’t get to see in the films.  Shows like this allow us to expand our view.  That was a fun intro to a whole new race of peoples we’ve never seen on screen before.

Don’t trust him to do what you want him to do…he’s a kid.  He’s not good at that.  Mando is trying so hard to be a good dad.  Its kind of adorable.

That is some nice tech.  I wonder what else Mando has up his sleeve.

Man.  She basically took down Mando with out any other equipment.  Its astonishing that someone is able to punch that hard into a Beskar helmet.  It was really impressive.

Cool so we get introduced to a new group of people.  They seem like a pretty calm people, farmers, brewers.  And we got to learn a little bit about what it was like after the war.  This is such a nice little planet.  Too bad there are pesky raiders around.

Mandalorian lore.  I really like how they give it to us in bits and pieces.  Its not overwhelming like other shows can be with their mythos.  The little drips and drabs of what the Mandalorians are…how they function.  How they live.  Its going to be so important as we build on the characters. But it’s a relief to not get the information piled on all at once.

The new character, Cara Dune, is interesting as well.  It’s different to see someone who fought for the Rebellion but in a different way than we have seen up until now.

That was a great way to introduce the AT-ST.  its kind of a terrifying piece of machinery.  And Mando handed over one of his weapons.  Those are so important to Mandalorians.  That is a huge show of faith in her.

I mean…you’re not wrong.  I love that Cara just called him out.  If the penalty for taking off the helmet is that you just can’t’ put it back on then that isn’t the worst thing in the world.  It’s a way to retire.  Be done with that life.  There’s are beautiful lady.  A safe home for the Child.  It’s a great offer.

Oof.  Cara smoked that bounty hunter.

The Child gets cuter every single episode.  The writers have done an incredible job with this show.  Its only a single episode with some of these characters and you just feel for them.

Chapter 5: The Gunslinger

And that is how you do it.  Mando is great at his job.  The other bounty hunters just don’t have the same skills.

Never expected Tatooine again.  Its really starting to feel like a western. Between the shoot out and the double cross this episode really felt like a true old western film.

That was all impressive.  But seems way too easy.  I’m not sure I trust either this new guy or how easily our elite assassin went down.  Its great to see Ming-Na Wen.  She’s a great actress…too bad we don’t get to see her for long.

Something big is coming I can feel it.  And as always, the concept art for the episode at the end is beautiful.

Chapter 6: The Prisoner

Hmmm…. what is going on here?  This feels very Firefly “The Bank Job” to me and its not even five minutes in.  I like that we find out the name of Mando’s ship finally.

Oh its so good to see Clancy Brown in this show.  He’s such a great guy and a joy to work with.

That guy is going to lose a hand if he hurts The Child.  And I don’t trust the four of these guys.  There is something more going on here.

The set looks so good.  This ship looks exactly like the inside of other Republic ships that we have been on in the past like Princess Leia’s transport in a New Hope.  The cockpit is so well done with all of the buttons and things that they had in the 1980s when George Lucas and his team designed everything.  They have done a fantastic job with keeping everything consistent with the time period this show is supposed to fall under.  Wonderful settings.  Familiar enough to feel that you are in the correct space in the world but not so off putting that they feel old or outdated.

I was waiting for that double cross.  I don’t trust anything when it gets to drive the ship.  There is too much information that a droid can get from your ship.  And with The Child on the ship that is going to be a big problem for Mando. This isn’t going to end well for the five of them.

I love The Child more and more every episode.  It has such incredible little parts to play that just enhance the episodes.  The little game of hide and seek that The Child is playing with Zero is absolutely brilliant.

Oh, good job Mando.  Nice to see some Rebel X-Wings around.  Putting the tracking beacon on Qin was a great idea. And to not have actually killed any of the team but the people who deserved it was great.  Its lots of little moments like this that give us bits and pieces of the Code that Mando lives by.

Chapter 7: The Reckoning

Mmmm.  I’m not sure I trust this whole situation with the Guild.  That sounds quite suspicious to me.

Cara is back.  Of course, Mando would go back to get her.  He knows he can trust her with The Child and his own lively hood.  Looks like we have to gather up the crew.  Mando, The Child, Cara, Kuiil, and IG-11…. That’s an interesting team.  Mando doesn’t trust Droids at all.

More use of the Force by The Child.  He doesn’t understand that Cara is a friend and she and Mando were just having fun.

This plan doesn’t seem super sound.  I really don’t trust this AT ALL.

What the hell?  How strong is The Child in the Force if he can not only heal himself but heal OTHERS?  That is bonkers.

Now that seems like a better plan.  And that was not a shock that they were supposed to kill Mando and take The Child.  I saw that coming from the start of the episode.  I don’t trust this guy as far as I can throw him.

So Mandalore is a planet?  I know I’m showing how little I know about the expanded universe when I ask these things.  I know they is so much more I just don’t know.

Oh no.  Oh no.  This is NOT good.

Moff Gideon.  Oh my god.  It is awesome to see him in this show!!!  I couldn’t ask for a better actor to play a better villain.  A ton of new Stormtroopers and Darktroopers.  This is not going to end well at all.

NO!

Chapter 8: Redemption

That trooper is the most hated man in the universe.  I can’t believe that he hit The Child twice.  At least IG-11 got ahold of the little guy before too much damage was done.

Cara is Alderaani?  And now we get some more of Mando’s background.  Man, the Moff knows a LOT about all of them. 

So much more information.  Between Mando’s name and background and the fact that Mandalorian is a Creed (which was kind of apparent if you were paying attention to everything that was happening before this).

The IG unit is impressive, and I love the way he moves.  It’s so different than other droids and how I personally expected him to move.

Oh no.  Mando is in big trouble.  I don’t like this at all.

Firetroopers.  This isn’t good.  So much untapped power in The Child.  He’s got such a raw and powerful use of the Force.

Little loopholes.  I am so surprised they let us see his face!  I know it’s been 8 episodes, but I was seriously expecting to never see his face the whole show.

Oh no.  the Mandalorians have been destroyed.  At least the ones here.  Or the majority of them.

Now we get some of the story of Mandalore the Great and the war with the Jedi.  Also some more of the Creed of the Mandalorians.  A foundling is the responsibility of the Mandalorian that finds them until which time they can be trained and eventually take the Creed, or they can be retuned to their family or own kind.

Wow.  The Armorer is an incredible character. 

That was some ending to the season.  The Darksaber.  Just so much.

Posted in 1UP, Blog Posts, Star Wars

LEGO Star Wars II: The Original Trilogy, based off of Star Wars Episodes 4-6, created by George Lucas: a Video Game Review

What are we playing:

The original trilogy is BACK but now in LEGO form!  Relive Episodes 4-6 as you play through the films all the while destroying everything in sight!  Become a part of the film.

This set of LEGO games walks through the world of Star Wars Episodes 4-6, in playable levels which you can go back after completing in Story Mode and play again to collect everything. 

General Information:

-Genre: Collectathon

-Creator: Traveller’s Tales in partnership with LEGO and Lucasfilm

-Number of Levels:

-Collectables: 68 characters, 2 customizable characters,

-Rating: E10+ (mild cartoon nudity, moderate violence but cartoony and in LEGO, several scenes in a bar)

-How to Play: local game stores (explore your area and support local!), used game stores, online or in box stores, or look for it at your local library (many libraries now have video games and even tabletop games for checkout)

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62-64

Review (contains spoilers):

Just like all other LEGO games these are your fairly standard collectathon style game and it is achievable to get a 100% completion, you just have to return after Story Mode to get everything.

LEGO games are some of my favorite games to play.  Since the majority of the game is just beating everything in sight to actually figure out what has stuff in it and what doesn’t it makes for awesome stress relief and I absolutely love that you can’t really die.  You just burst into bits…aka LEGO currency.

This version is a really fun way to play through the next three movies.  The story lines are comprehensive and follow the original trilogy in a way that is still true to the feel of the films.  You just get to explore some more.  This series allowed for the designers to do some interesting things and not just focus on the same play style in each and every level.  You get a really nice combination of platforming, vehicle based levels, exploration and scripted play through.  Plus coming back and replaying levels makes for some really entertaining challenges.

These are super fun and are great to play with kids but challenging enough for adult players to really enjoy.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Star Wars Episode 6: Return of the Jedi, created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Han Solo has been encased in carbonite for over a year when C-3PO and R2-D2 are sent to negotiate with the notorious crime lord Jabba the Hutt.  They are the bargaining chip to get Han back.  When this fails Princess Leia infiltrates the palace as a bounty hunter, attempting to turn in Chewbacca for the bounty on his head.  While in the palace she manages to unfreeze Han but is in turn captured.  With Leia enslaved, Chewbacca and Han Solo captured, and his droids taken as hostages Luke has no choice but to come to the surface himself to negotiate their return.  Unfortunately things don’t go as planned and the group must fight their way out.

As they rendezvous with the Rebel Alliance, Luke takes a detour back to Dagobah to complete his Jedi training with Yoda, who is sadly dying.  In his final moments Yoda does confirm for Luke what he already knows… that Darth Vader was once the Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker.  His father.  And that there is another Skywalker.  He is not alone.

The Rebels discover that a new Death Star is being built, this time under the direct supervision of the Emperor himself.  They uncover the information to defeat the Empire once and for all.  In order to do this they will need all hands available and the Force on their side…

General Information:

-Genre: Space Opera

-Creator: George Lucas

-Length: 132 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild sex and nudity, mild violence and gore, mild smoking and alcohol use, mild frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billy Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz

-Page of Reference in RP1: 22

Review (contains spoilers):

This is probably my favorite of the Original Trilogy.  There is enough going on that it is entertaining but not overly complicated.  All the little loose ends get tied up.  We get some romance with Han and Leia.  Luke comes into his own, albeit a bit on the arrogant side. The resolution to the Skywalker family mysteries is solved.  Anakin comes back to the side of the Light.  Palpatine is dead.  Leia and Luke reunite as siblings.  The Ewoks get cuter the older I get…though they are still a silly addition in my opinion. The Empire is destroyed.  The Rebels win.  Everything is back in balance…mostly.

It’s a nice ending to the Original Trilogy.  We get to see our heroes win against the fascist Empire.  They all survive the war though not without some wounds.  Wounds that will affect them for the rest of their lives.  Han and Leia have found each other.  Everyone dances.  You can’t really ask for much more when it comes to the end of an epic trilogy.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars, Uncategorized

Star Wars Episode 5: The Empire Strikes Back, created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Three years have passed since the Rebel Alliance destroyed the Death Star.  The Imperial Fleet, led by the notorious Darth Vader, is in pursuit of the new Rebel base.  As they send out probe droids across the galaxy to try and locate the group and their leader, Princess Leia.

One of the probes locates the base on the ice planet Hoth, a cold and deserted chunk of rock ignored by most of the galaxy.  Groups of the Rebel forces take turns to monitor the outer plains for the safety of the base.  Luke Skywalker is captured during one of his shifts, having gone further to investigate the mysterious asteroid that hit the surface…discovering that it was an Imperial Probe Droid.

As Han Solo goes out to rescue his friend, the rest of the Rebels begin to pack up and evacuate before the Empire shows up to launch a full-scale attack on the base.  Luke is saved but is convinced that he must seek out Jedi Master Yoda when the Empire arrives on Hoth.  The Rebels set out to meet the Imperial Army.

The Empire manages to push the Rebels to evacuate, cutting off the route that Princess Leia needs to get off the base.  Luckily, Han Solo is able to draw her away to the Millennium Falcon and their small contingency escapes the planet.  Luke makes it off world as well, heading to the Dagobah system.  As the group is spread across the galaxy in an attempt to escape and then reconvene to attack the Empire once again they learn hard lessons on who to trust and who to cast aside.

General Information:

-Genre: Space Opera

-Creator: George Lucas

-Length: 124 minutes

-Rating: PG (mild violence and gore, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Billie Dee Williams, Anthony Daniels, David Prowse, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, Frank Oz

-Page of Reference in RP1: 22

Review (contains spoilers):

This is probably my least favorite of the Original Trilogy.  It is necessary story wise, and I get that…but honestly I don’t like a lot of the characters and the situations that they are put in.

Between Cloud City and Dagobah, Hoth and the issues with the Falcon…and of course, Han Solo in carbonite…its just not as satisfying to watch.  I know that all of this is needed.  The betrayals, the secrets revealed.  The beginnings of the balance of the Force in Luke.  Leia realizing her feelings for Solo so she can make the rash decisions that she does in the third film.

While it isn’t as unbalanced as the issues in Episodes 1-3, this one is quite hard for me to watch.  It’s a lot of hurry up and wait.  Which is needed.  The next movie needs the groundwork built here. 

Luke needs to grow.  He needs Yoda to learn what he is missing with the Force.  We need the reveal of Vader as his father.  We need the tidbits of Leia being his sister.  The balance that he begins to bring to himself in the movie.

Leia and Han need to find their grounding together.  And need to have an adventure away from Luke.  They need to learn that they can rely on each other (and Chewie of course).  Lando needs his redeeming moments.

We need to learn more about the reach of the Empire.  And how the people outside of the scope we see are being treated.  How difficult the world is around the Rebels and why they are fighting so hard to end the tyranny.

This is all necessary.  But its just a long movie to get through.  And not in the same way as the first parts of the Skywalker Saga.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Star Wars Episode 4: A New Hope, created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

The galactic civil war has raged for many years with losses on both sides.  The Rebel Alliance has stolen plans for the Galactic Empire’s Death Star, a moon sized space station with capabilities to destroy entire worlds.  Imperial Senator Princess Leia Organa of Alderaan is secretly one of the Rebel Spies and has the schematics in her possession when she passes them onto a droid amidst an attack on her vessel.  She sends the droid to the nearest planet as the ruthless Darth Vader makes way onto her ship.

The small droid, R2-D2, accompanied by a protocol droid, C-3PO, are captured on the planet by Jawa traders and eventually make their way into the hands of Owen Lars, a moisture farmer.  Lars sends his rebellious teenaged nephew, Luke, to clean the droids and while doing so he stumbles across the message that Princess Leia has left behind.  Luke connects the “Obi-wan Kenobi” in the message to Old Ben Kenobi, the elderly hermit that lives in the hills.

When Luke takes the droids to Ben, he uncovers the truth behind Ben’s past.  That he was a Jedi Knight, a galactic peacekeeper, studied in the ways of the Force…a metaphysical energy that runs through all things.  They had been nearly hunted to extinction during the course of the civil war by the Imperial Army and the notorious Darth Vader.

As R2-D2 plays the Princesses full message a course of action becomes clear.  They must go and help her no matter the danger.  For they are her “only hope”.

General Information:

-Genre: Space Opera

-Creator: George Lucas

-Length: 121 minutes

-Rating: PG (moderate violence without blood and gore, mild use of alcohol, moderate intense science fiction scenes)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Peter Cushing, Alec Guinness, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Peter Mayhew, David Prowse

-Page of Reference in RP1: 22

Review (contains spoilers):

I do really love this film.  The original film is wonderful.  It’s a beautiful world that Lucas built with a perfect balance between action and exposition. This film has what is truly lacking in the prequel films.

The story is told at times that make sense from Obi-wan Kenobi explaining the Force to Luke when they are dealing with R2-D2, to the bits and pieces that you get from Han Solo and from the council sessions of the Imperial Army.  Nothing feels forced like in Episode 1 yet we get enough information to feel included in the world and its goings on unlike Episode 3.

The characters are real and fleshed out with all their faults and strengths and weaknesses. The practical effects still hold up today.  Extraordinarily little looks bad to a modern audience (a little in the sabers and the laser blasts…a bit in the space scenes) and I credit this to the fact that more modern CGI techniques were not really a thing.

It’s a great film and quite family friendly.  There is violence but it is mostly gore free with the exception of one minor dispute on Tatooine. Great story and great film.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, based on the universe created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

The Empire is nearly in full control of the Republic. 

They are trying to develop a new weapon that will bring uncooperative planets to their knees but in order to do so Imperial weapons developer Orson Krennic needs the help of Galen Erso, a research scientist who has defected from the Empire in hopes to protect his family.  When their location is discovered, Galen is captured, his wife is killed and their daughter, Jyn, manages to escape with the help of Saw Gerrera, a rebel extremist.

Fifteen years later, the Rebel Alliance gets word that the weapon the Empire has been developing is nearly operational.  They track down Jyn Erso, hoping her connection to her father and his work as well as her knowledge of Saw Gerrera will aid them in their mission to steal the plans for the weapon in order to destroy it before the Empire has the chance to use it on a single world.

General Information:

-Genre: Science-Fantasy Spy and Espionage

-Creator: based on the universe created by George Lucas

-Length: 133 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate violence and gore, moderate frightening and intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Donnie Yen, Mads Mikkelsen, Alan Tudyk, Jiang Wen, Forest Whitaker, Riz Ahmed

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

 So, watching this a second time I had a different reaction than seeing it in theatres.  I know that you shouldn’t get attached to characters in situations like this, and that we knew it was a suicide mission to begin with due to where it takes place in the storyline of the Skywalker Saga.  This is war and not everyone survives war…but still.

When I came out of the theatre I was really upset.  I didn’t like that they created such a diverse and varied cast of incredibly well-written characters to just kill all of them.  It seems a waste to me.

That being said this is an incredible Espionage and Spy film set in the universe of Star Wars.  Jyn is one of my favorite strong female characters.  She is bold and willing to risk her life for the chance to defeat the enemy that took her family from her.

This story added so much depth to what happens right before we meet Princess Leia the first time in A New Hope. Its so nice to see that we are able to fill in gaps in this series that weren’t able to be filled or didn’t necessarily need to be filled when dealing with the main Saga storyline.  These films give glimpses into the universe that we otherwise don’t see.  We get to discover things like religions associated with the Force that aren’t the Jedi/Sith.  We get more worlds and the abilities of droids, smugglers, other species.  Even smaller glances into these help to flesh out the world of the Skywalker Saga.

Honestly, save for the end this is one of favorite films in the Star Wars universe.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

SOLO: a Star Wars Story, based on characters from George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

Set a decade before Star Wars: A New Hope we discover the beginnings of Han Solo’s story.

Han and his love, Qi’ra, are orphans on the planet of Corellia trying to escape from the local gang…a place that is run by them and often the only way to stay alive is to be part of the mob.  Having stolen a vial of pure hyperdrive fuel, called coaxium, the pair attempt to flee by bribing an Imperial Officer.

Han manages to escape but Qi’ra was recaptured by the gang.  He vows to come back for her and as he continues to flee, Han is nearly caught.  So he joins the Imperial Navy and is given the last name “Solo” since he had no last name.

Three years later, Han is determined to get back to save his girl when he encounters a group of criminals posing as Imperial soldiers.  Having been discharged from the Imperial Academy for insubordination, he attempts to blackmail the head of the crew and when that doesn’t fly he ends up arrested and tossed into jail to be fed to another prisoner, a Wookie named Chewbacca.  Han is able to persuade him to join forces and escape to, thankfully, be picked up by the criminals who had him arrested in the first place.

The crew reveals that they have been hired to do a train heist, and the payout would be enormous.  The pair can assist but are told to follow orders and their payout would be enough to buy their own ship…

General Information:

-Genre: Space Western. Science-fantasy Heist

-Creator: based on characters from George Lucas

-Length: 135 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (mild science fiction violence, mild profanity, some use of alcohol and drug innuendos, some intense scenes, moderate amounts of crime)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Alden Ehrenreich, Woody Harrelson, Emilia Clarke, Donald Glover, Thandie Newton, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Joonas Suotamo, Paul Bettany

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62 (see the article about why we chose to include this here )

Review (contains spoilers):

I LOVED THIS MOVIE.  I don’t know why I had waited so long to watch this one!  I’ve found lately that I tend to enjoy the stories set in the universe more than the Skywalker Saga films.

They are some of the greatest things that Disney has done with the franchise in my opinion.  Because they are (insert film genre) first and “Star Wars” second.

I don’t feel like I have to know every single last thing about the Star Wars universe to love the films.  I don’t have to understand and watch all of the Clone Wars to understand why General Grievous coughs (I looked it up because it was just weird for a droid to do that…) or feel like a fool for missing some small nuance in the background of some scene.

Just like the Marvel films, for the most part are another genre then a superhero film, the stories set in the Star Wars world are just wonderful films.  This was a GREAT heist film, it was an incredible space WESTERN.  And it was also a Star Wars movie.

It had MAJOR Firefly vibes.  It had action and daring and crime and romance. And deceit.  And everything a good heist/crime film should have in it.  THAT is what I love.  I love being able to change out the characters for fully original characters and the movie still makes sense.  I love even more that they’ve created something new with characters that we all know and love in the first place.

It gives a level of dimension that we are lacking…or fleshes out the characters in a way that we never thought of before.

Truly a great film.  But if you want a “Star Wars” film…you’ll probably be disappointed.  But I wasn’t.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in 1UP, Blog Posts, Star Wars

LEGO Star Wars: The Video Game, based off Star Wars Episodes 1-3, created by George Lucas: a Video Game Review

What are we playing:

The prequel trilogy is BACK but now in LEGO form! Relive Episodes 1-3 as you play through the films all the while destroying everything in sight! Become a part of the film.

This set of LEGO games walks through the world of Star Wars Episodes 1-3, in playable levels which you can go back after completing in Story Mode and play again to collect everything.

General Information:

-Genre: Collectathon

-Creator: Traveller’s Tales in partnership with LEGO and Lucasfilm

-Number of Levels: 17

-Collectables: 56-59 characters (depending on the console), 13 hints to the game (these are both free and cost studs), 10 extras (that do both silly things and assist you), 170 canisters/minikits, 17 Jedi Level Stud Counts

-Rating: E10+ (Mild cartoony nudity and sexual innuendo, Mild violence but cartoony and LEGO, some “alcohol” use and scenes in bars, some intense scenes…but it’s a cartoon game so…)

-How to Play: local game stores (explore your area and support local!), used game stores, online or in box stores, or look for it at your local library (many libraries now have video games and even tabletop games for checkout)

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62-64

Review (contains spoilers):

These are considered Collectathon games and it is achievable to complete these to a 100% rating.  You do need to replay levels, sometimes several times with various characters you collect later in the game to achieve a full 100% of the games achievements.

I absolutely love playing the LEGO games.  They are wonderful stress relief since the whole point is to just beat up everything in sight.  You can die an infinite number of times so there is no real stress to dying like in many other “life based” games. And they take a fun approach to how the levels are set up.

You aren’t just playing the same standard levels over and over.  There are differences in the levels and level set ups, there is a free play version of nearly all the levels and there is the world in the diner to explore (though it is small and really just a portal to the levels).

Excellent game.  Very fun.  Playable with kids of all ages.  Love the collectathon aspect of the whole thing.

Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Star Wars, Episode 3: Revenge of the Sith, created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

The Clone Wars have been going on for the last three years.  The Jedi Order is scattered far across the galaxy, fighting against the Separatists.  Master Obi-wan Kenobi and Padawan Anakin Skywalker have been sent on a mission to destroy General Grievous and rescue Senator Palpatine from capture.

While their attempt at a rescue mission could be called a narrow success, the General escapes.  Upon their return Padme and Anakin are reunited and she tells him she is pregnant.  Anakin once again begins to have his premonition dreams, this time pointing to the death of his beloved wife.

As the war continues to rage about the Galaxy pulling both Master Kenobi and Master Yoda into parts unknown to search for Grievous and hopefully end the war.  Anakin continues to get closer to Senator Palpatine and begins his final descent into the Dark Side fueled by his inability to have a logical head when it comes to his attachments….

General Information:

-Genre: Space Opera

-Creator: George Lucas

-Length: 140 minutes

-Rating: PG-13 (moderate science fiction violence and epic battle scenes, moderate intense and frightening scenes including someone catching on fire)

-Where to Watch: Amazon Prime Video (Buy/Rent), iTunes (Buy/Rent), Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blue-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Ewan McGregor, Natalie Portman, Hayden Christensen, Ian McDiarmid, Samuel L Jackson, Christopher Lee, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, Frank Oz

-Page of Reference in RP1: 22

Review (contains spoilers):

Oof…this one is really tough for me to review because there is just so much that is bad in the film and so much that I love (mainly the romance that continues between Anakin and Padme…and the fact that the are so blatantly obvious about the whole thing…).

This is probably the one film that I wish there was more exposition in…more explanation (could we not have taken some of the tedious and horribly forced moments in Episode 1 and just…nudged them carefully into here?)  I know from my research there is a lot of what I always had questions about available online and through other television shows but come on. We couldn’t have gotten a little bit in the movie for those of us who didn’t have access to the shows or who didn’t want to watch more than the films.

Anakin is still insufferable in these movies. And while I love the romance between Anakin and Padme it is hard to get through because Padme was the mature one…but in this film she seems more childish.  I can understand that love can make us do stupid things, yet this is a bit much.  The giddy schoolgirl routine is kind of worn out at this point.

Obi-wan continues to be a wonderful character.  He has only grown well into his role.  The moments he as within the story line showing all of the dangerous of war and the deceit of fighting it are beautifully done.  There is so much going on behind the scenes of war that they do go into in little bits and pieces.  It probably one of the better things that they do in this movie.

But I do think it a bit unbelievable that Anakin is constantly able to sneak off to be with Padme.  Does no one ask where he is staying at night?  It’s just fascinating.  And it leaves him so open to Palpatine’s influence in many other ways as well.

Overall, the push and pull in this film are ok.  And the acting and writing feel better than the previous two as if the writers have finally settled in.  but the issue with that is that you don’t have time to settle in doing a film franchise like this.  You have to be good right off the start.  And these films just seem to fall a little flat in that regards.

Rating:

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
Posted in Blog Posts, Flick Central, Star Wars

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (animated), based on characters created by George Lucas: a Film Review

Synopsis:

The Clone War is in full swing.  General Jedi Master Obi-Wan Kenobi and General Jedi Knight Anakin Skywalker are leading a small battalion of Republican Clone Army against the Separatist Droid Army on Christophsis.  As they await reinforcements, a single shuttle lands on the planet carrying Jedi Apprentice Ahsoka Tano with a message from Jedi Grandmaster Yoda.  She has been assigned to General Skywalker as his apprentice, and not to Master Kenobi as was thought.

Meanwhile, Grandmaster Yoda has been told that Jabba the Hutt’s son has been taken hostage.  Skywalker and Ahsoka have been assigned to get him back as Master Kenobi visits the Hutts to reassure them that they will get his son back.

Of course, they are walking into a trap…

General Information:

-Genre: Computer-Animated Space Opera

-Creator: based on characters created by George Lucas

-Length: 98 minutes

-Rating: PG (Mild violence and gore, mild profanity, mild use of hooka and drinks that could be alcohol, mild intense scenes)

-Where to Watch: Disney+ (with subscription), DVD, Blu-Ray, or look for it at your local library

-Main Cast: Matt Lanter, Ashley Eckstein, James Arnold Taylor, Tom Kane, Dee Bradley Baker, Ian Abercrombie, Catherine Taber, Christopher Lee, Samuel L. Jackson, Anthony Daniels

-Page of Reference in RP1: 62

Review (contains spoilers):

I’m not sure about this animation style but I am absolutely loving Ahsoka.  She will probably end up as one of my favorite characters in all of the Star Wars Universe.

The story is really interesting.  And I do think it falls quite in line with the parts of the world that I love.  I can tell we are going to get a lot of the larger world that we get with the “side” stories.  The characters seem more compelling and complex than what we get from the Skywalker Saga.

Ahsoka is so wonderful. Just as snarky as Anakin was with Kenobi but seems to have a better head on her shoulders.  She is more levelheaded, but can be just as reckless as her master. 

Ventress is new and different.  Its interesting to me that she is an “apprentice” to Dooku.  Especially since we have been led to believe there are only two Sith at any given time.  Perhaps it is just another matter of the Sith employing another force sensitive beings as their lackies.

The animation style kind of grew on me as the movie went on.

Ooh…. The play of both sides.  The Hutts are a powerful family in the Outer Rim.  It makes sense that whoever wins their favor will win the war.

I do appreciate that the director and the animators treated the film as an action film and not just as an “animated movie”.  There are dynamic angles, epic battles and great music.  They seem to have mastered the use of cinematic techniques and applied them to the world of animation.  It is impressive and greatly appreciated.

Padme being in things is always a plus.  She is a great character that really seemed underutilized in the films… going from a strong confident Queen and Senator to a lovesick girl over the course of the films.  I hope she remains strong during the course of the show…

And apparently, I have watched this a tad out of order…now to go back to the correct order according to the official Star Wars website for the show.

Rating:

Rating: 4 out of 5.